In his book Hackers & Painters Paul Graham spent a surprising amount of time talking about high school and college and the education system. Today, he published an essay on his web site called What You’ll Wish You’d Known written in second-person voice directed to high school students but applicable to anyone interested in youth or the education system.
It’s a good read. The first part of the essay is golden (the second half he starts rambling a bit). He talks about how high school kids are freaking out about what their life work is going to be – so true – and how every May graduation speakers tell us “don’t give up your dreams!” What that means, he says, is that we are encouraged to pick a goal 20 years out and work backwards from it. But this means that we’re bound by some plan we made early on and can lead to a disaster. He has lots of other thought-provoking nuggets, so stop reading me, and go read his essay if you a) have kids, b) are a kid, c) interested in young people, d) interested in how we approach education and teaching.